From those underneath your cupboards to central islands, it's all about finding kitchen countertops that reinforce your decor while matching your needs.
Your kitchen countertops can help you complement your existing palette, create a visually pleasing contrast, or even make an attention-grabbing statement.
At the same time, they should help you make the most of your kitchen from a practical point of view too, whether you need a wider surface for food prep or to enjoy breakfast with the rest of your household.
To help you find one that works from both an efficient and decorative point of view, our interior design experts have put together a wide range of tips and kitchen countertop ideas in all kinds of styles and materials.
1. Use your kitchen countertop as a transition between your cupboards
Many kitchens rely on a design with top cupboards in a different color than those at the bottom.
In that case, kitchen countertops can be used strategically to create an aesthetically pleasing transition while avoiding a clashing effect.
For example, a black or dark wood surface would have looked too heavy on top of these blue cupboards, whereas the white marble countertop separates them from the pink ones more smoothly.
2. Add an island for additional space
If the design of your kitchen doesn’t leave you enough room for long countertops, you could introduce an additional surface through a central island.
It’s all about optimizing your room’s existing layout to prioritize your actual needs!
While this kitchen only relies on a couple of small countertop sections on both sides of the oven, the central island incorporates a sink and a much larger food prep area.
3. Make an unforgettable statement
We’re used to thinking of kitchen countertops as neutral sections, but you can easily turn them into the most attention-grabbing elements in the entire room.
This design blends the separation between the main kitchen countertop and the wall as well as that between the top surface of the island and its body.
At the same time, because they both rely on the same contrasting pattern, the kitchen is beautifully cohesive.
4. Make your countertop different from your kitchen island
To maintain the most cohesive look, you can choose to have all your countertops in the same style. However, it’s not a must!
If you’re thinking of marking the separation between the two or introducing some contrast, draw inspiration from this granite top opposite a white one.
You can then use smaller elements to keep everything cohesive, such as this faucet in the same color as the cupboards.
5. Use it to reinforce a lush feel
Are you secretly hoping to impress your guests whenever you give them a tour of the house? Then your kitchen doesn’t need to be an exception.
Your countertops can actively help you highlight this sense of sophistication, especially when you opt for premium materials like marble. Or how about a dark wood finish with golden accents like in this astonishing kitchen?
6. Choose a countertop and storage that complement each other
This isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution: it’s all about how you personally use your countertops and how tall the items that you need to place on them are.
In some cases, this might mean thinking outside the box. For instance, to maintain a bright and airy environment, this kitchen pairs up some open storage with a countertop that guarantees plenty of vertical space for taller items.
7. Keep your island and kitchen countertop cohesive
Here are the two most logical options: choose an island in the same color as your bottom cupboards and with a contrasting top surface in the same as that of your other countertops (just like you can see in this elegant example).
Another idea is to have the island’s main body in the same hue as your other countertops and the island’s top surface in that of your bottom cupboard.
8. Choose white in small kitchens
If space isn’t a luxury, white countertops will be the wisest choice in your kitchen, whether you opt for a contemporary laminate design or a material like marble.
This is simply because white surfaces tend to inspire an airy feel, making cramped areas look a little more spacious.
They’ll also help you emphasize natural light, which is especially handy if you have large kitchen windows.
9. Use your kitchen countertop as a breakfast area
Your kitchen countertops aren’t just there for food prep! Have you considered creating a special space to enjoy breakfast with your family or some informal drinks with your guests before moving onto your main dining table?
This can be achieved by introducing a central island with stools or, if you have less space to work with, by choosing a kitchen with a countertop section that turns into a dedicated seating area.
10. Consider wood as a material
Wood countertops are practical and versatile. First of all, they’re durable and great for food prep (and easy on your knives!).
They can also work with most decors depending on their style and finish: we recommend lighter wood in more contemporary kitchens, whereas darker ones are ideal in modern and more nostalgic ones.
Finally, a wood countertop will instantly add a cozy and warm vibe to the entire room!
11. Decorate your kitchen countertop
Of course, you’ll mainly be using your countertops for food prep and to store kitchen equipment. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t add some decorative items too, though!
In fact, treat your countertops just like you would with top surfaces in your living room or bedroom: display your prettiest chopping boards, add a centerpiece, place a fruit bowl in the middle of your island, and keep some flowers on display.
12. Find a different way of keeping it cohesive
While we’ve seen some best practices and popular choices, you can also find your own way of maintaining your palette consistent through your kitchen countertops.
For example, instead of matching the other top surfaces, this island’s countertop nods at smaller elements in the same finish: the wall shelves.
This translates into a subtler but stylish decorative result while maintaining an airy feel in the kitchen thanks to the white countertops.
13. Make it industrial
If your idea of decor is all about exposed brick walls and factory windows, be sure to find the right countertops for your kitchen.
Wood, in particular, is a popular choice in industrial homes, especially when paired up with metal accents or, in this case, stools.
Other relevant options are steel or, if choosing laminate, neutral colors like black or gray.
14. Use your countertops to reinforce your style
Overall, as well as your color palette, countertops should complement the specific decor style that you chose for your kitchen.
From materials to the actual design, always prioritize a countertop that works with your interiors (like in this marvelous example) over one that’s visually striking but would end up looking out of place.
15. Pair them up with some lighting fixtures
Whether that’s above your island or a countertop section beyond your cupboard area, it’d be handy to include some fixtures for task lighting.
From a decorative perspective, think of them in relation to your countertop surface. For example, these white pendants create a pleasant contrast against the dark kitchen island, whereas the top part nods to its neutral hue.
16. Keep them consistent through your stools
In most cases, when adding some stools to an island or a section of your countertop, we advise against using the same color: otherwise, they’d end up disappearing next to that background. Instead, try and create some contrast!
At the same time, for a cohesive touch, you can always choose some stools with a small element or seat in the same color as the countertop, like in this stylish kitchen.
17. Go neutral
Whenever in doubt, neutral countertops tend to be the safest choice. They’re versatile, work with different decor styles, and can easily match your kitchen appliances.
Check out this kitchen: the gray countertops go well with the fridge and other metal sections while creating some balanced contrast against the white furniture.
18. Make it nostalgic
Whether that’s because you opted for a more vintage decor style (like shabby chic or mid-century modern) or you’d just like to focus on a sense of coziness that reminds you of your childhood home, your countertops can help.
Wood is perfect to inspire a charming and nostalgic mood, and you can even look for designs that include a more decorative element like the edges of this dark wood countertop.
19. Opt for marble
For the most luxurious results, you obviously can’t go wrong with marble countertops, but marble isn’t only relevant in elegant or opulent interiors.
Its neutral hues make it a versatile choice that will complement most palettes. It’s also timeless, durable, and heat resistant but cool when it comes to its normal temperature (psst: that’s ideal if you bake often!).
20. Showcase your decorative flair
To complement a kitchen consisting of mostly monochrome pieces, you could get creative with an island countertop involving some kind of pattern.
You can then use smaller accents to decorate it or accentuate it tastefully, like this lighting fixture in a similar blue shade and the white flowers for a delicate touch.
21. Optimize your countertop’s layout
Start with what you actually need the most rather than limiting yourself to common countertop solutions and designs.
For example, if you’d like to obtain some seating but haven’t got enough room for a protruding portion of countertop space, you could opt for a custom design that lets you slide a couple of stools underneath the main surface.
22. Complement it through your backsplash…
This is another handy way of maintaining a cohesive look in your kitchen while still creating some conscious contrast.
If the section behind the sink requires some kind of backsplash, the kitchen countertop around it could very well be in the same color and style!
23. … or some tiles
And the same applies to wall tiles: you can keep them consistent by having a tiled countertop in the same color.
Should you wish to maintain some cohesiveness while still marking their separation, how about some tiles in the same style but a different shape, like this creative green design?
24. Think layers
Just because they’re horizontal surfaces, it doesn’t mean that you can’t introduce an element of verticality through your kitchen countertops!
In fact, with some challenging room layouts, this might be what allows you to fit a section that would have made a traditional kitchen too cramped.
Rather than trying to squeeze in a separate island, this kitchen relies on a countertop across two layers to obtain a breakfast area.
25. Experiment with contemporary kitchen countertop ideas
While they can still look just as stylish as other types of decor, contemporary interiors tend to focus on practicality and functionality over ornate elements.
So, when it comes to your kitchen countertops, try and stick to monochrome designs, clean lines, and streamlined shapes, much like this sleek example.
26. Go with glass
Here’s a less common but extremely sophisticated kitchen countertop idea that you might want to entertain: bright glass designs.
While they can be more expensive and (let’s face it) difficult to repair if you crack them, they actually tend to be extremely durable.
They’re also more eco-friendly since they can be recycled and, by being non-porous, extremely easy to clean and wipe.
27. Pick an accent color
Most countertops tend to involve neutral hues or a kitchen’s secondary shade. When it comes to a smaller section or that on your island, however, you could be bold and opt for your palette’s accent color.
For instance, this yellow countertop nods to the backsplash in a lighter shade.
You can then use smaller decorative items to keep it consistent throughout the rest of the room.
28. Pair up a cheerful hue with some white kitchen furniture
White kitchen furniture is stylish and timeless. However, relying on this color entirely can inspire a plain or even overwhelming feel.
Instead, break it up tastefully through some countertops in a brighter hue like these beautiful teal surfaces.
Bonus points if you can incorporate that color through some other elements such as a wall or backsplash, too!
29. Choose kitchen countertops with clean lines
Simple designs without additional decorative elements are popular in contemporary, Scandinavian, and minimalist kitchens. They’re also a wise choice in smaller spaces where it’s easy to create a cramped vibe.
This could mean choosing countertops with streamlined designs or some that incorporate the top surface within the actual body of your island and furniture, just as you can see in this stunning example.
30. Reinforce your kitchen’s coziness
Your kitchen is more than a place to cook and bake: it can be a warm and inviting hub for your entire family, or even the kind of room that makes you feel happy as soon as you walk through the door!
To highlight this, consider choosing wood countertops in natural finishes that showcase their unique veins or some tiled terracotta designs.